Want to help promote public health? Plant some trees. That’s the message of the Arbor Day Foundation’s new recognition program, Tree Campus Healthcare.
Launched this month, the Tree Campus Healthcare effort aims to recognize healthcare facilities that meet five standards: form an advisory committee to grow more trees on and around its campus; develop a tree care plan; participate in a community forestry project; sponsor a tree planting event; and make financial investments in tree projects, education events or community outreach.
“There’s a growing body of academic research about the importance of spending time in nature for human health and a specific connection between trees and health,” said Logan Donahoo, program manager at the foundation. Along with improving respiratory health and absorbing carbon dioxide, “studies show that living in a community with trees promotes physical activity and improves mental health.”
The Arbor Day Foundation—a not-for-profit dedicated to tree planting—has helped plant more than 300 million trees since 1972, but there’s no target number of tree plantings for the new program’s first year. Donahoo said the goal is to increase awareness about the connection between trees and health.
The program “creates a platform to educate the public and healthcare institutions about the benefits of trees and nature,” she said. “It explains why some healthcare institutions are already investing in trees and provides a simple framework for others to join.”